Free water conservation kits for Savannah residents
By John Newton
What is the most valuable resource in the world today?
Those of us hit by high gas prices might guess oil but most scientists believe that water is destined to become our world's most precious commodity. Poet W. H. Auden put it this way: 'Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.'
Bordered by two of Georgia's largest rivers and situated atop one of the most productive aquifer systems in the world, Savannah may seem to have an overabundance of the wet stuff but officials in the City of Savannah's Environmental Affairs Office are very anxious encourage its conservation.
The water we pump from the Floridan aquifer is very pure. Chlorine is added to the water for disinfection purposes prior to entering the distribution system and fluoride is added to enhance dental formation, but the city's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean creates another headache for those concerned with the quality of Savannah's drinking water.
Salt water intrusion is already a problem for several coastal communities including Hilton Head which has been forced to close six of its eleven supply wells in the past ten years. This contamination occurs when fresh water is withdrawn from the Upper Floridian Aquifer at a faster rate than it can be replenished. The resulting imbalance in hydrostatic pressure allows saltwater from the ocean to be drawn into the aquifer and mix with the freshwater.
According to Environmental Services Planner, Margosia Jadkowski, The City of Savannah has devised a number of strategies to encourage city residents to conserve and protect their fresh water supply.
“We are giving away free water conservation kits,” Jadkowski said. “If you are a City of Savannah water customer, just contact my office and we'll send you two conservation kits, one for indoor water usage and one for outdoors.”
The indoor kit consists of a faucet aerator to increase water pressure while using less water, a multi-position low-flow shower head, and dye tablets to test for leaking toilets. A leaking toilet can waste up 8,000 gallons of water per year.
On average, 50-70% of household water is used outdoors in activities like watering lawns and washing cars.The free outdoor conservation kit also provides a faucet aerator, as well as a stop-flow hose nozzle and a rain gauge for measuring precipitation. This simple device gives homeowners a better idea about when they need to water their lawns and gardens.
Although they are not as severe as those in some communities, Savannah also has placed certain restrictions on outdoor water usage.
“The rule is that city residents should only water their lawns between 4pm and 10am,” Jadkowski said. “ If your address is an even number, you are allowed to water your lawn on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Odd numbers should water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.”
If you house or apartment was built prior to 1993, you may also be eligible to receive free of charge two new low-flow toilets for your home. These toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush instead of the standard 5 gallons per flush of older models.
“Residents just need to fill out an application to receive their free toilets,” Jadkowski said.
“City of Savannah water users qualify for a free low-flow toilet voucher if they have never received a free toilet in past City giveaway events and have a current and up-to-date City of Savannah water bill. People are responsible for picking up their new toilet and having it installed.Once the toilet has been installed, customers can take their old toilets to the Dean Forest Landfill where they will be recycled into road fill.”
Jadkowski said that treated ground water also plays an important role in Savanna's water conservation efforts.
“Our medicine cabinet clean-out program is designed to protect our treated water from the effects of old pharmaceuticals that many people have stored in their homes,” she said. “Instead of flushing these drugs down the drain, we'll send you a postage-paid mailer in which to place your old medicines so we can have them safely incinerated.”
Jadkowski said the free devices provided by the city were designed to enhance water conservation but her agency's ultimate goal is to simply increase user awareness of how much water we use each day. For instance, reducing the length of your morning shower by just one minute could save up to 1,825 gallons of water each year.
“The simplest device we give away is perhaps the most important,” Jadkowski said. “It's the “Shower Coach” a 5-minute sand dial timer encased in a waterproof housing with a suction cup to attach to your shower wall. If you'll start paying a little more attention to the time it takes that sand to pass through the timer, maybe you'll start paying more attention to all the fresh clean water that flows through your toes, down your drains and into our sewers each day.”
To order your free kits: call the Environmental Affairs Office at 912.651.6943 or email Ms. Jadkowski at email@example.com